Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin
A Sunday School teacher was doing her best to explain how someone gets to heaven.
SS Teacher: “If I’m a good person and help a lot of people, will that get me into heaven?”
She nodded her head in approval.
SS Teacher: “If I sell everything I have and give all my money away, will that get me into heaven?”
She smiled at their understanding.
SS Teacher: “And if I come to church every Sunday and pray every day, will that get me into heaven?”
The teacher nodded once more and was sure her class was ready to answer the next all important question.
SS Teacher: “So if none of those things gets me into heaven, then tell me what do I have to do to get to heaven?”
Many hands went up, but she noticed one boy sitting in the back who didn’t normally answer had his hand up.
SS Teacher: “Timmy, do you know the answer?”
Timmy: “Yes Ma’am. That’s easy.”
The teacher gave him an assuring smile. “So, what do I have to do to get to heaven?”
Timmy: “You have to be dead!”
(This statement is more profound than Timmy realizes. The first step to getting into heaven is to realize you are dead. Only then will you understand the new life you can have in Jesus Christ.)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 (NASB)
I enjoy The Music Man every time I see it! It’s just a great feel good movie and yet it has a lot of lessons
to learn from. One of those is that if we look hard enough we can find trouble and plenty of it, even when there isn’t any.
Surely there is enough trouble in my life that I don’t need to manufacture any, so why do I? The answer…worry. Worry is a joy killer, a production killer and a kingdom living killer. It zaps everything in its path and serves no constructive purpose.
The opposite of worry is having joy in the midst of trouble which can only happen when I take hold of God’s mercy, grace and lovingkindness.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 33-34
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, Because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul. Psalm 31:7
But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. Psalm 5:11
I am thankful I can take refuge in my Lord and sing His praises! What I need to remember is that my definition of refuge and God’s definition of refuge are not always the same.
I want refuge to be a tightly enclosed space that shelters me from…well…everything. I don’t want to be rained on at all…not even a drop. Basically, I want the troubles and problems to just go away.
But, I don’t think that’s the kind of refuge and shelter God is talking about. He will protect, He will shelter me, He will provide a refuge, but He rarely simply removes the situation I am in. That’s because He knows I won’t learn anything, I won’t ever be more mature if all my troubles just vanish. Easy and comfortable never produce maturity, they only produce stale and wimpy.
God’s protection is in the midst of the rain and He wants me to praise Him in the rain. Usually I wait until after the rain is done and every puddle is dried up. While it’s raining, I’m pretty sulky. In fact, I can be down right cantankerous!
When I can sing His praises while it’s raining, then I’ll know that I’m developing some good ole’ Christian moxy!